The 2020 spring semester for the Cheshire School District was one of the most unpredictable times for students in history.
Classes shifted to online learning, sports seasons ended abruptly, and most traditional end-of-year celebrations were either canceled or postponed.
Luckily for Cheshire High School seniors, graduation is one event that school administration have been set on maintaining.
“We wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate our students who sacrificed so much during this past semester,” said Cheshire High School Principal Dr. Mary Gadd. “I am so proud of how they have handled themselves through all of this; they were able to maintain their positivity throughout.”
Graduation this year will look immensely different from years past, starting with a date in August instead of June, and a change in venue in order to accommodate for social distancing guidelines. This year’s delayed ceremony will be held at the Farmington Polo Club on 152 Town Farm Rd., Farmington, this Sunday, Aug. 2 starting at 5 p.m.
According to Gadd, only students and their families will be allowed to attend, and they must stay in their parked cars for a majority of the ceremony.
“We will have designated parking spaces for each family, and staggered arrival times so there isn’t a mad rush to get in,” Gadd added. “We will have a FM channel that those in the cars can tune into, and we are going to be having speeches; though they will be brief.”
Gadd did specify that students will be able to walk across the stage, provided that they wear a face mask and maintain social distancing, in order to receive their diplomas, which Gadd assures will all be handled with sanitary precautions prior to students receiving them.
Prior to making the decision to hold graduation, Gadd and her team held a variety of meetings and conducted surveys so as to allow students and families an opportunity to inform the District what kind of ceremony they prefered. At first, the District was considering a variety of options, including conducting a virtual ceremony in June.
However, feedback from the public made clear that most preferred to wait and see if an in-person ceremony could be held at some point in the summer.
Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan has continuously supported the District in their decision to hold graduation.
“We believe that graduation belongs to our students and families and it is our job to try and make it as safe and enjoyable as possible within the state guidelines,” he added in an email.
While in previous years students have had ample time to rehearse the ceremony, this year’s preparation for graduation will be minimal.
“Everyone has written instructions as to how this is going to go down,” said Gadd. “But hopefully the event will go off without any issues.”
For those who cannot attend the ceremony personally, the event will be live streamed and will be viewable by visiting https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCULDbVCqppiY_3egBVDA-mw.
The rain date for the event is Tuesday, Aug 4.